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Excessive Mucus, Shortness of Breath
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Excessive Mucus, Shortness of Breath

I have been diagnosed with asthma, however the typical asthma treatments don't seem to help me. I have been to so many doctors including herbal doctors, and no one seems to have any answers.  I usually am clearing my throat all day and have had to start taking Mucinex on a daily basis to keep the mucus somewhat under control. I can't ever seem to get anything up when I clear my throat. I have also noticed in the past year that when I start to have an asthma attack (or at least what I think is asthma, I'm still questioning these attacks), my stomach will get nautious and I get extremely fatigued. I notice that during these attacks, the mucus won't move around.  It seems to just get thicker, and no matter what I do I can't get anything to come up. My attacks usually last about 3 - 4 hours.  When the mucus starts to finally move around, then I gradually start getting better. Because I have been to so many doctors and their treatments don't help me, they start looking for other alternative answers such as panic attacks. My question always is - explain the mucus then! Why does the mucus change when I get into these attacks? Why does the mucus change again and start to move again when the breathing attacks start to cease?  There does't seem to be a pattern either. I get these attacks at any time of year. Sometimes they last off and on for months, and then I can go months without them. It almost ALWAYS happens at night when I lie down to go to bed. I can usually tell when I'm going to have a breathing/mucus attack in the evening or early afternoon.Lead me in the right direction!
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251132_tn?1198082422
It is not clear as to your diagnosis.  The only clear symptom is the increased mucus.  You have not mentioned wheezing, tightness in your chest, coughing.  All of these are associated with attacks of asthma.  It does not mean you do not have asthma, but your description alone is not indicative of a diagnosis of asthma.  Having episodes of increased mucus production can have several different causes, both allergic and nonallergic in nature.  It will be important to find out several items:  
24 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
It sounds very much like reflux to me.  That is one of the most common reasons for constantly having to clear your throat.  It also is more common when you lie down, and/or after meals.  Maybe you could ask your primary doctor about it and get some samples of meds to try.  Watching your diet is also crucial, like avoiding things high in fat, spicy, peppermint, coffee, and other things that I can't remember right now!  Good luck!
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Avatar_f_tn
One way to get rid of mucous is to drink a ton of water. Meds. like Mucinex, and Sudafed only work well if you drink a lot of water with them. Also, Reflux was causing some of my
asthma-like symptoms. I would wake up coughing soooooooooo hard, and struggling to inhale, making horrible gasping sounds. Prevacid did away with this. For me, asthma was a misdiagnosis. I had reflux, and restrictive lung disease. I'm not saying that is the case for you, but you should get Pulmonary Function Tests done just to be certain, if you haven't already. If you have had PFT's and they indicated asthma, then you can be relatively sure that the diagnosis is accurate. It wouldn't hurt to get evaluated for Reflux. If you do have reflux, your body may be mass producing mucous to keep the acid from burning your throat so much.

About asthma though: Excessive, and thick mucous is associated with asthma. In most asthma patients, the airways are chronically inflamed, which causes them to be narrowed, and are lined with abnormally thick mucous, causing them to be narrower still. In an asthma attack, airways constrict, and you are less able to exhale, as a result, you may have non-productive coughing even though you've got so much mucous. As the attack subsides, the airways dialate a bit, and you are better able to exhale, thus making it posible for the mucous to move. What asthma medications have you tried so far? Have you been to a pulmonologist? Have you been evaluated for sinusitis? allergies? Had a CT of your sinuses? Seen an ENT?
Allergies do make asthma worse. It may not be seasonal. It could be dust, pets or environmental factors like pollution or smog. Have you tried Zyrtec, or something similar to see if it reduces your asthma symptoms and mucous?
Remember, asthma causes difficulty exhaling, ans reflux causes difficulty inhaling.
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Avatar_f_tn
Also, scroll down a little, and read post
"Q: Can't breathe and sore chest - auzziunit: 03/11/2006"
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi everyone. I just started reading comments on here and I found one page that was all about too much mucus in the thoat all the time. That has been my problem.
I have been losing my voice and clearing my thoat off and on for at least 5 years. I have tried almost every kind of medicine (prescription, nonprescription, and all natural) known to man. And nothing has ever worked.
Sorry, but I don't believe medicine is the answer. I just seen my doctor and she had me try singulair because this is one I didn't try yet and of course it didn't work. I paid a $30 office visit copay and a $40 prescription copay to take a pill that I can't take anymore because it keeps me up all night. This medicine is for asthma and I don't believe I have asthma.
But anyway, my point is that I don't think doctors really know and that they are just guessing. I believe it's just a big money scam. How could they know when almost every illness has a whole list of the same symptoms. Even our president of the united states stated on Febuary 5th of 2005, that "doctors don't really know what kind of medicine to prescribe for us, they are just making an educated guess".
Pretty scarey isn't it. By the way, where do all of you allergy sufferers and people with excessive mucus in your throats live? I live in Michigan. But when I moved to Florida years back, I didn't have half the problems with it that I have now....
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Avatar_f_tn
Just food for thought:
Singulair is used for allergies as well, but is usually taken in the morning for allergies, and at night for asthma. You could give it another try, taking it when you get up in the morning. As far as developing new problems after moving to a different area of the country, this is very common. It can be due to different allergens, dust levels in the air, pollution, and other environmental factors. I have lived in 5 states, and have been differently affected by each one.
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Avatar_n_tn
Same systems as earlier posters; thick mucus that I am unable to move / swallow that seems to either trigger asthma like symptoms, or to be a byproduct.  Attacks last for several hours, making me feel as if I'm suffocating, even though I breath perfectly well.  I find a couple of benadryl will help calm the symptoms, but put me to sleep as well.  

I've had doctors who suspect GERD, or similiar, and the Protonix seems to help slightly, but not a cure.  Strangely enough, a glass of bourbon seems to help more often than not, but I have no interest in self medicating down that road.

I've met others w/ identical symptoms to mine, and the ones discussed on this thread appear to be identical as well, but no one has managed to track this down and fix it.

As a note, I had asthma as a kid, thru my early teens and I remember very well what that feels like.  This is nothing like it, though it will trigger an asthma attack occassionaly, which is why I still carry albuterol w/ me.

Any more info anyone is able to add would be greatly appreciated.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have been reading the post made to this forum and i can't believe how many people are havin the same problems i am experiencing ..
I am 25 years old,don't smoke and rarely drinks .. i have been having shortness of breath and nausea and chest pain for over ten years now but it seems to be getting worst, i thknk the problem is caused from the fact that i always seem to have mucus at my throat which comes up at times but forms back really quickly.
Sometimes when i try to take a deep breath i feel as if enough air is not going into my lungs and this makes me start to panick and have to be gasping for air.. i am always stuffy and can't breathe through both nostrils at the same time .. what is really scaring me though is that whenever i am stuffy and feel like i am having a sinus attack my heart races really fast and it seems to be pumping very hard anf sometimes this lasts for over an hour,even when i am lying down.. i have been to doctors without help and the last time i went they told me i have high blood pressure, i don't believe this has my heart only races when my sinus is inflammed and when i have difficulty breathing ..i also have heart palpitation at times..this irregular beating of my heart is really worrying me and i would like to know if anyone else have been having similar symtoms (symptoms) ..
sorry for the long post but i just wanted to explain myself properly
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Avatar_n_tn
There seems to be an epidemic of people with this respiratory problem. Mine started about five weeks ago and was diagnosed by my doctor as being a side effect with my blood-pressure medicine. When changing to a different one I found that it didn't go away. (mucus in the throat that I can't clear and a need to cough and try to clear my throat until it get's irritated and sore and I lose my voice if I talk much.) Next they thought it was a reaction to my blood-sugar medicines, Metformin, Avandia, Glipizide, and so I stopped taking them but that didn't take care of the problem either. I have been in the Emergency Room three times in that same period of time and to my Doctor five times. STILL THE SAME! They have given me Histinex for my throat, Azithromycim for Broncitis that I got while in the Hospital, Zyrtec for allergies, and Xanax for panic attacks when it feels like I can't breath when it's at its worst. While in the Hospital they had a E.N.T. doctor to scope my sinus cavity and nose and throat,(he found nothing wrong); a doctor of Gastronology scoped my stomach and lower throat and found only minor irritation in the throat and nothing wrong with the stomach. They have given me Nexium to take but that hasn't done anything either. They x-rayed my lungs and found nothing wrong there either. Also stress test of my heart and its ok. While I'm typing this message I have been clearing my throat at least a hundred time and spitting up mucus and coughing. The only time I get any relief is when i'm lying in bed partially on my stomach.
I hope someone comes up with an answer to this as it is driving me crazy. And keeping my wife awake also.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi I am experiencing the same problems - thick sticky mucous and throat clearing and coughing. I have had a post nasal drip for years and I have trcked that down to a reaction to various food products. The 2 main ones for me are CORN such as cornlour and Sacharine. I can eat bread without cornstarch fine but bread with corn startch gives me the symptoms. I now avoid some breads, most biscuits, tinned foods with starch tichkener (1422) unless it's explicitly not corn starch (eg taopioca or wheat are fine). My main exposure to sacherine is TOOTHPASTE. almost all normal brands contain it - they don't use sugar of course. If I use one of these I get masses of mucous. i normally resort to a homemade combo of salt and baking soda - does the cleaning and is alkaline to counteract the acid which causes holes. I have found other sacherine producst to cause the same problems - pickled ginger in sushi for example. I used to get so much mucous at night from eating dinner with corn and toothbrushing, that I would wake up every few minutes choking on the stuff. It feels like it's hard to breathe and my nose gets stuff - mouth breathing is easy but not a good habit. I find a tony does of clartyn helps a lot. I had used zyrtec but guess what it had as a sweetener- sacherine! it made things worse then better.
good lukc everyone
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Avatar_m_tn
thanks for sharing your story, i guess i will have to start monitoring the foods i eat, but my question is this , does your heart race alot when u feel all that mucous at your throat? like mine it feels like it's blocking my air passage , do you feel that way too ?
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Avatar_n_tn
Here I am in down town Australia (West coast) - trying to get a damn breath into my lungs and wondering why I'm constantly going "hummph" and trying to clear what seems to be invisible mucous erupting from the top of my lungs into my throat - and dealing with constant pain in my chest which manifests itself as reflux - though it's not so much the acid burning thing as the burping and heart attack like pain under my sternum that extends right down my arm.  AND I have been diagnosed with adult onset asthma (after having suffered every allergy under the sun as a child. The reflux and the asthma symptons seem to come on at the same time AND I don't wheeze and the difficulty is in breathing in, not out. And it gets very panicky occasionally - so what to do now!!!????  At least I know it's a set of symptoms that lots of people have and I don't feel like I'm a complete nutter hypochondriac.
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Avatar_n_tn
I thought I was the only person in the world with this problem.  It absolutley drives me my parents and my entire family crazy.  I am a 41 year old Native American Female.  And every time I eat or drink any thing it seems like I spend hours in the bathroom trying to get mucus out of my nose and throat.  I even run warm salt water up my nose to losen it up to try and get it out.  IS THERE ANY HOPE?
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Avatar_n_tn
Yo for the past 3 months I have had excessive mucus in my throat and it is the most annoying thing I have ever experienced, I don't have a cold or flu or anything like that so I don't know how and why this is happening. I did come up with one conclusion and that is: I have been using over the counter Nasal Spray everyday for about 8 years and you're only supposed to use OTC nasal sprays for 3 days because it can make the sinus problems worse; So I'm thinking that all these years of using those nasal sprays created the mucus problem, but why would it happen all of the sudden? I have had stuffy/clogged nose for many many years and I think that when I have a stuffy/clogged nose and use those nasal sprays it must clear the mucus/boogers out of my nose and then drips down into my throat causing this annoying mucus problem...but why all of the sudden? this has never happened to me before and as you read I have been using thoses OTC nasal sprays for about 8 years now. I don't have a cough or sore throat so when I feel the mucus in my throat I have to cough it up with a dry cough and sometimes it gets caught in the middle of my throat and has a tickle feeling that drives me so crazy I get aggitated and anxiety. I went to my doctors and he gave me Augmentin which has 1,000 mgs of Amoxicillin in each pill and he told me to take 2 of them every 12 hours; so I did that for about a week and a half then I suddenly felt another annoying feeling on the back of my tongue   so I looked at my tongue in the mirror and saw a couple of bumps right on the very back of my tongue so I went back to the doctors and he said the bumps are a side effect from the Augmentin so he gave me a prescription for Nystatin oral solution and Flonase nasal spray, but I am still having troubles with my the mucus in my throat, the bumps on the back of my tongue, and moderate stuffy/clogged nose, the Flonase seems to help a lil' bit with the nose. I am looking for any information on how to clear all this up so any info. would be very appreciated..Thank you for your time.
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Avatar_n_tn
Have you taken the drug Accutane sometime in your past?
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Avatar_n_tn
Just read your comments, sounds sooo familiar. Have had excess mucous for three years now off and on. Lately it's been more on. Can not begin to tell you of the meds I've been on. I now go to an acupuncturist. She helped me after three visits. At least I can breath at night and get some sleep. She is helping me get my PH balance of my body back. We all eat too much acid foods. Check Acid/Alkaline food lists on the internet (your PH balance). IT WORKS! I am getting better and greener (from eating salads and broccoli). I get tired of some of this, but hey, it works..S.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello,

I have had a similar condition and have had it for 6+ years. Mornings and various times throughout the day, I have what appears to be a thick light-yellow mucous "string" that sticks to the back of my throat.  I can feel it when I swallow and it does not move.  It looks like a pasta noodle. In 2001, I was trying to clear my throat so vigorously that I literally injured my throat and it felt like I had lacerations down my throat.  It became so painful that I was not even able to swallow my own saliva secretions or the thick mucous.  Eating or drinking was painful.  Warm water was the easiest thing to consume.  Eventually, an infection developed in my throat and I was placed on an antibiotic and a steroid.  This happened three times followed by a severe rebound & recurrance each time.  Finally, my ENT placed me in the hospital for IV antibiotics and steroids and the infection and injury resolved.  I was in for three days.  

I still get the problem of the post-nasal mucous, but instead of clearing my throat, I reach into my throat with a hemastat (scissor-like instrument with a blunt end that functions like a big pair of tweezers) and pull out the mucous "string/pasta noodle."  This has become a part of my morning routine and I don't injure my throat by clearing so vigorously or "hacking."  I have learned to not gag on this procedure.  When I remove the thick mucous, the discomfort goes away almost immediately.  I just wish there was something that I could do to treat the problem.  I have tried antihistamines, ibuprofen, tylenol, and had a complete round of allergy testing (results negative - no allergies).  I am a healthy female in my thirties and I enjoy keeping physically fit by running and biking.  I just don't understand why I have to put up with this condition chronically!
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Avatar_n_tn
It is so comforting to know that others are struggling with such a seemingly rare condition. I have such overexcessive secretions of mucous in my throat and it is so aggrevating. I have had this problem for about 6 years now. I am constantly hacking it up and having to spit it out at least one hundred times a day. Everything I eat causes mucous, even water. I have stopped eating all sweets and dairy products and pretty much anything artificial. I have been to doctors and gotten some temporary reliefs, but nothing seems to REALLY help and get rid of the problem. No one I know understands the problem and it is such a burden. In addition, this mucous causes bad breath and I am scared to get close to people. I really want help and to sympathize with all of you.
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Avatar_n_tn
I too have mucous.  I live on sinus/allergy meds that only sometimes help.  This is a fairly recent problem for me, but scary.  I too feel panic during these episodes, like I can't swallow, heart beats fast etc.  I went through a bunch of consults and testing and found out that some of my problems are due to hypoglycemia.  I have a dietician now and am feeling much better.  The episodes are farther apart.  Consider the power of food and blood glucose levels.  A hypoglycemic episode can closely mimic a panic attack.  You are not crazy, just undiagnosed.  Warning: most doctors do not consider hypoglycemia a real condition.  Great, huh!
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Avatar_n_tn
I just want to suggest reading about hyperventilation syndrome (HVS).  It might not make sense at first, but I have been having excess mucous and chest tightness for a year or so and now everything makes sense to me.  My doctor thought possibly asthma, and the inhaler opened up my lungs, but my throat was still clogged.  I had basically no other symptoms and today I googled "chest tightness, no other symptoms" and found that thread in this forum.  Within a day everything makes sense.  You can chronically hyperventilate without knowing it, and it can cause asthma-like symptoms such as I was experiencing.  I was using Mucinex too.  But asthma treatment including steroids didn't work and also didn't explain tingly arms and lightheadness.  And the mucinex didn't feel right.  With HVS, you basically breathe with just the top part of your chest and it causes all sorts of potentially spiraling problems.  I started trying to belly breathe more today and the mucous started coming out.  Check it out.  Good luck to all of you.
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Avatar_n_tn
I cannot believe I am reading all these posts - I was beginning to think I was nuts - I've always had sinus, allergies, allegedly asthma - problems sometimes really awful bouts of it - but it's been relatively under control. -until 2 years ago when I started to feel like my inhaler wasn't working anymore and I was becoming increasingly short of breath and and a throat full of mucous almost always..having to spit excess up often,  coughing literally until I threw up (sorry bout that) - changed inhalers, had nebulizer treatments - my family doc kept saying my lungs were clear and I kept telling him I couldn't breath it felt like my throat was plugged shut... after he prescribed xanax for me (because he felt It was my imagination) i guess, I tried 6 other docs - I have been on everything from 4000 mg. of amoxil a day (yes I said 4000), nebulizer with cromylin, cortisone and some other form of albuterol, all of which fried my throat and I couldn't talk for 6 weeks, the only thing that seemed to relieve it was oral cortisone - when I was on it I felt relatively normal - I've been to an allergist and had all the tests again and she got mad because I wasn't getting better, my ENT gave me the prednisone and I even had an endoscopy to rule out reflux - and had what they call Schatzke's ring which was stretched - but only a slight inflammation of my airway.. ANYWAY  - this has gone on for two years and I became seriously ill in Aug. 2005. I was in the hospital for four days and some of my treatment was heavy duty doses of steroids - when I was released from the hospital the problem seemed to be gone.. honestly gone - for 6 months I didn't eve touch my inhaler and I thought I was over it - until about March when the mucous thing started again - it is gradually building up to the point of where I am short of breath and hacking up mucous constantly as well as coughing even when I'm trying to speak with somebody.. i'm doing sudafed which helps marginally but singular makes me cough until I can't stand it, allegra helps some but it seems like there's even more mucous with it - I carry a bottle of cough medicine with me constantly as well as my inhalers which open me up some but make me cough more and I can tell you it's depressing to read some of you guys have been going through this for more than 6 years....and I feel bad for ya, but . I'm glad to know I'm not alone.. and then again.. I'm not so glad to know  nobody seems to be able to figure this thing out.
I hope we all feel better soon.
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I have some of the same simptons as your previous writers. I have been diagnosed with asthma for 2 years as a 44 yr. old adult. I have excess mucus, wheezing,shortness of breath, dizziness, and headaches. This happens mostly after eating and at night when I fall asleep. I recently had a food allergy test which showed I was allergic to glutens, but my asthma and allergy doctor says I am not, so I continue to eat whatever I want. Can you tell me why this happens. The meds don't work.
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